In spite of the homophobic nature of Nigerian society, the LGBTQ+ rights movement has been very visible in Nigeria. A number of local pro-LGBTQ+ initiatives have sought to challenge the conservative myths and homophobic stereotypes that prevail in the society. One method used for such advocacy has been avant-garde cinema, particularly lesbian or gay films. A case in point is Ikpe-Etim’s 2020 romantic film titled Ife. As an unusual Nollywood movie, Ife strongly makes a case for the human rights of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women in Nigeria. Its very positive representation of what Nigerian legislation and censorial forces consider deviant sexualities has fueled a huge controversy in the Nigerian socio-cultural sphere. This controversy has been understudied. Using Anthonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and the feminist film theory as interpretative tools, this paper examines how Ikpe-Etim’s film is both a counter-hegemonic and queer feminist initiative. The paper argues that although Ife contributes to proselytism for LGBTQ+ rights and feminism in Nigeria, it has serious weaknesses and limitations. Despite the producer’s and director’s sexual identities and work as activists, straight Nollywood filmmakers have remained reluctant to join the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Author Biography

Floribert Patrick C. Endong holds a PhD in Theatre and Media Arts from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in cinema and TV studies at the Department of Performing Arts and Cinematography, [IBAF] University of Dschang, in Cameroon. His areas of interest include visual anthropology, cinema, theater criticism, photography, cultural studies and religious communication. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the above mentioned areas of interest. He edited Popular Representation of America in Non-American Media (2019), Deconstructing Images of the Global South through Media Representation and Communication (2020) and Exploring the Role of Social Media in Trans-National Advocacy (2018). He can be reached by email at: floribertendong@yahoo.com